Late Friday afternoon, a flurry of activity by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office pulled back the curtain on their case against Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone, who last month was arrested in his Florida home and charged with lying to federal prosecutors, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice.
In documents submitted to the U.S. district court, the special counsel’s office detailed some of the evidence against Roger Stone, acknowledging for the first time they possess direct communications between Stone and Russian operatives known collectively as Guccifer 2.0, as well as WikiLeaks.
The communications were gathered in connection to an indictment that Robert Mueller brought against 12 Russian intelligence operatives last year. Those individuals, who were all members of Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, operated under aliases including DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0.
Stone’s communication with WikiLeaks, also disclosed in Friday’s court filing, was less of a surprise. He previously acknowledged being in contact with the propaganda outfit, though once the special counsel’s office began zeroing in on him, Stone tried to downplay any knowledge of WikiLeaks’ role in disseminating hacked emails from the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Last year, The Atlantic revealed that Stone and the official WikiLeaks Twitter account exchanged direct messages with one another shortly before the election.
The latest disclosure by prosecutors further tightens the noose around Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
In its initial indictment against Stone last month, the special counsel’s office revealed that a senior Trump campaign official “was directed” to reach out to Stone regarding WikiLeaks’ publication of John Podesta’s emails. Now that Stone himself was shown to have been in direct communication with Russian intelligence operatives, there is a direct line running between the Trump campaign and Russian military intelligence officials.
Also on Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson handed down a partial gag order against Stone, forbidding the notoriously loose-lipped provocateur from speaking in or around the courthouse.
Jackson placed a full gag order on Stone’s legal team as well, barring his attorneys from publicly commenting about the proceeding in a way that could “pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case.”